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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Jul 12, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 13/16)
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Registered Trademarks May Block Company Registrations

The Registrar of Companies in Kenya is now required to consider trademark registrations when assessing company names. The Registrar is required to refuse a company name if the name is ‘offensive’ or ‘undesirable’. A company name will be deemed to be offensive or undesirable if it includes the name of a registered trademark. A written consent from the trademark owner will overcome the problem.

This change of practice is a result of the promulgation of the Companies Act 2015, and the Companies (General) Regulations 2015. There is no provision for the removal of names registered in violation of this requirement. It is also important to note that the situation does not apply in reverse - the Registrar of Trade Marks does not need to consider company names when assessing trade mark applications.

Companies might want to consider filing trade mark applications for their company names. It is, however, worth bearing in mind that a trade mark application does require a genuine intention to use.

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa